To Build or To Find: An Approach to Faith Beyond Traditionalism

I’ve noticed that leaders and teachers who have faith in Christ and are of the Protestant persuasion typically prepare themselves by learning all that has been said and taught over the centuries, support these traditions by and with the Bible, then embark on building something—whether it be a church, a ministry, or some other expression of outreach, teaching, and/or serving. They esteem this approach as of God, of truth, and embark on representing Him throughout their lives as their “building” grows. Some souls fail miserably and sink back into the fabric of life as 9 to 5 employees of someone else’s material dream, but every now and again, someone has what it takes to create an empire, and once that empire begins to take roots, there is no rocking the boat, no changing directions, and especially no divergence from the doctrines and practices they learned to uphold.

Embracing Change and Growth in Faith

I have taken a different approach to faith which I would like to promote and describe forthwith. Instead of building upon religious traditions fed to me by religious organizations, I have instead chosen to teach from where I am at in my understanding but being open to change, uproot, and even destroy doctrines, practices, and approaches that prove not contextual to the Bible as a whole. One thing for certain that I have discovered in taking this road is as long as a person that leads a group is open and willing to change, the gatherings or groups that are around them will never last. People are way too fearful to have their long-held views challenged, and few will stay around as the Golden calves of religion melt before their eyes.

The Cost and Reward of Walking an Unconventional Path

Over the years, I have personally experienced hundreds of people who once called themselves my brother and/or friend either quietly and silently walk away from associating with me or they actively come after me for teaching and seeing things that they have never considered, seen, or believed. The price? Feeling misunderstood, rejected, alienated, and alone. The reward? Life. Truth. Light. And a maturing love for God and Man that transcends my ever-human need to be liked, to be popular, to be followed, and in many cases, to even be loved. The literal, actual cost includes:

  • Loss of stability in the world.
  • Alienation of family, friends, fellowship.
  • Constant criticism from my family of brothers and sisters online through the use of thought-killing clichés like, “not saved,” of the Devil, off the deep end, crazy, a cult-leader (in the worst sense of the word), and an endless list of being misunderstood.
  • Wonderment and uncertainty of growing insights as to origin and source.

The Biblical Foundation for Change and Growth

But didn’t our Lord and His chosen apostles describe such things in scripture as being the lot of those who “diligently seek Him?” (Hebrews 11:6) And if we bear the mindset of a diligent seeker, shouldn’t we all admit that changing is part and parcel of being a seeker of God in Spirit and Truth? When I am criticized for changing views on matters, I typically respond with (if the accuser is willing to listen), “Do you know everything?” The response is typically no, to which I will then add, “Well then, if you lack knowledge, isn’t change almost always the result as you learn and observe new things?” It is.

Challenging Religious Dogma for a Living Faith

We have made an enormous mistake in the world of religion by thinking that we have all the answers and that change is a sign of weakness. The reality remains that God placed the faith in the hands of His Spirit, that we learn line upon line, and that new guidance and information will always lead to growth and maturity in areas that our former leaders were resistant.

The Role of the Spirit in Guiding Faith

In the end, we propose here at the Great News Network that life is an ongoing act of learning, discovering, and changing, and that all objectified religious dogmas should be considered, reviewed, and tested before they become something that we choose to believe and accept or that we impose upon others to believe and accept. God Himself put the things of His Kingdom in the hands of the Spirit. The fruit of that Spirit is agape love. Yeshua taught that this very Spirit moved like the wind, and that all who live by this same Spirit do the same. These ideas of Love and Spirit and Wind all lend to change and all stand absolutely resistant to immovable tenets of the faith.

Recommendations for Those Seeking the Father in Spirit and Truth

In conclusion, I suggest the following for anyone who diligently seeks the Father in Spirit and Truth:

  • Question everything, everywhere, and be willing to change your previously established stances.
  • Interpret all doctrines and dogmas through the microscope of love—meaning, if your interpretation of a doctrine is non-love
  • Seek the courage to go to the Living God directly and to ask Him (and Him alone) to open your eyes to His written scripture and to those around you who claim to understand it.

May YAHAVAH bless you in your journey.

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
Articles: 108

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